Songs from the Southern Seas and Other Poems/Unspoken Words


THE kindly words that rise within the heart,
And thrill it with their sympathetic tone,
But die ere spoken, fail to play their part.
And claim a merit that is not their own.
The kindly word unspoken is a sin,—
A sin that wraps itself in purest guise.
And tells the heart that, doubting, looks within.
That not in speech, but thought, the virtue lies.

But 'tis not so: another heart may thirst
For that kind word, as Hagar in the wild—
Poor banished Hagar!—prayed a well might burst
From out the sand to save her parching chUd.
And loving eyes that cannot see the mind
Will watch the expected movement of the lip:
Ah! can ye let its cutting silence wind
Around that heart, and scathe it like a whip?

Unspoken words, like treasures in the mine,
Are valueless until we give them birth:
Like unfound gold their hidden beauties shine,
Which God has made to bless and gild the earth.
How sad 'twould be to see a master's hand
Strike glorious notes upon a voiceless lute!
But oh! what pain when, at God's own command,
A heart-string thrills with kindness, but is mute!

Then hide it not, the music of the soul.
Dear sympathy, expressed with kindly voice,
But let it like a shining river roll
To deserts dry,—to hearts that would rejoice.
Oh! let the symphony of kindly words
Sound for the poor, the friendless, and the weak;
And He will bless you,—He who struck these chords
Will strike another when in turn you seek.